Friday 18 October 2019

'Are you not feeling the best?' Advice from Pieta House if you're concerned a loved one is depressed or suicidal this Christmas

Support: Joan Freeman, founder of Pieta House
Support: Joan Freeman, founder of Pieta House

Jason Kennedy

While many people think of Christmas as a happy and joyful time of year, it can have the opposite meaning to many people in Ireland.

This time of year can be especially hard for people dealing with bereavement and loss, having to relive the memories of better times in years gone by. 

Financial strains and an over-consumption of alcohol can also play a part in making the last few days of the year very difficult.

Sometimes it can prove quite hard to figures out whether a friend or family member is suffering from depression or having suicidal thoughts, but suicide prevention charity Pieta House's Clinical Director Marguerite Kiely has some advice for those concerned.

"Family members should always go with your gut instinct. You know your family member the most. If they're isolating themselves a little bit more from family members or not getting involved in family activities," she said.

"If they're speaking the language of depression, that too is a sign. If they're finding that nobody understands them; They're questioning 'what's the point?'"

Another sign they may be going through depression or a difficult time, is if their standard of hygiene and self-care ha reduced.

Watch the above video for tips to identify depression and suicidality in a loved one - and how you can help:

If you have been affected by issues in this article, you can free-phone the Samaritans on 116 123. Pieta House can be contacted on 1800 247 247.  For more information on Pieta House and its services visit

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